The Parish Council is the lowest tier of local government representing and promoting the interests and concerns of the community at a grass roots level. It has fewer duties than District and County Councils, but greater freedom to choose what action to take. It can play a vital role in representing the interests of the community and to improve its quality of life and the local environment. The Council has been granted powers by Parliament to raise money through taxation (the Precept) and a range of powers to spend this public money.
All Parish councils are constituted in the same way. Councillors are elected by the local electorate unless 6 or fewer applicants apply and then they are automatically adopted to the Council. Each council has a Chairman, who must be one of the elected councillors. In addition to the Parish Councillor’s, who are your unpaid representatives, the Council employs a Clerk to carry out its business and to ensure that the many statutory requirements are met.
The Clerk is the engine of an effective parish council as he/she is its principal executive and adviser and is the Parish Council’s only employee. For Kirk Ireton and the majority of smaller parish councils, the clerk is the officer responsible for the administration of its financial affairs. The Clerk is required to give clear guidance to Councillors, including the Chair, before decisions are reached, even when that guidance may be unpalatable. The Clerk has a key role in advising the Councillors on governance, ethical and procedural matters.
Sometimes people get frustrated that the cogs of the Parish Council seem to grind slowly and in some cases seemingly put obstacles in the way of progress! I would like to reassure you that Kirk Ireton Parish Council strives to help as much as we can within the processes that we are required to work within. There are particular regulations that have to be adhered to and unlike a limited company each parish councillor is personally liable if anything goes wrong. In order to get anything done efficiently it is best to understand the process and then to work through it accordingly. It not only makes life a little easier but also saves on the valium!
Kirk Ireton Parish Council is made up of the following:
The Clerk – Janice Jackson, 8 Bradley Close, Birchover, Matlock. DE4 2BG Tel: 01629 650727 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
N.B. We are indebted to the hard work and efforts of Janice in continuing to keep us on the straight and narrow, for maintaining her professionalism at all times, and for staying with us for another year!
The Councillors – were all elected for office on May 3rd 2007 and their positions over the last year have been:
Sheila Collington – The Chapel. Chairman (370783)
Kath Stevens – Moorside Spring Farm. Vice Chair. (011629 822722)
Jan Hall – September Cottage. Chairman o f the Village Hall Committee. (370371)
Linda Goldsmith – Candlewick Cottage. Vice Chair Village Hall Committee (370288)
Paul Gardner – Church View, Buxton Hall Close (370098)
James Watson- The Cottage, Main Street. Open Space and Village Field (370500)
Parish Council Meetings and Main Agenda Items:
Presently meetings are held on the 1st Wednesday of every month starting at 7.30pm in the evening at the Village Hall. Members of the public are most welcome to just come along to listen, to raise a subject or ask questions during “public participation”, which is at the very start of every meeting. The meeting can then be opened again during the course of the agenda at the discretion of the Parish Council. The key areas addressed during the meetings are:
Public Participation: We endeavour to maintain a Parish Council that is both transparent and welcoming to any parishioner who has a need to raise an issue during Public Participation. Are aim is to represent peoples concerns fairly and without bias. It is difficult to appease everyone especially when there are very strong differences of opinion between members of the public but we do our best.
Council and Police Representatives: There has been a lack of visits from both Cllr Lewer and Cllr Radford and only one from PCSO Jo Dales.
Footpaths: Throughout the year, Dave Williams has continued to produce reports showing the state of repair of the cross-country footpaths in the Parish. These have been sent off to Derbyshire County Council for action. The Parish Council receive about £400pa from DCC for minor footpath maintenance, strimming work etc. which is undertaken by Glynn Griffiths.
N.B. We would like to thank Dave Williams for his continued support.
Planning: Through the year the Parish Council is consulted on every planning application, and is invited to comment. The Parish Council have no power over the decisions reached by the Planning Authority at Derbyshire Dales District Council, but any comments that are made in the Parish are taken into consideration, along with letters received from members of the public. Occasionally, Councillors from Derbyshire Dales District Council will visit a planning proposal in the village, particularly any that are contentious. However, the Parish Council is only classed as one voice and if a member of the public is concerned about any planning application they need to make their feelings known to the Derbyshire Dales District Planning Authority.
Highways matters: Reports of various problems on the roads have been made throughout the year to DCC whenever they have been noticed: such as potholes, blocked drains, fly tipping etc. There are varying timescales for the resolving of such issues and we very much welcome input from the public in keeping abreast of any developments. With the severe weather over the winter months the village relied heavily on the gritting resources of the County Council.
Finance: The Precept, which is the amount of money raised through the Council Tax from villagers, for the year from 5th April 2011 was set at £8,000 which is an increase of 3% on the previous year. The Council were very mindful of the implications of any rise in the precept but felt that the increases were justified with the increasing responsibilities of the Council with regard to the village field and the lack of increase in reimbursable expenditure from DDDC. The Council will continue to work closely within their budget and seek grants for any larger items of expenditure whenever possible.
The Parish Council through its precept takes financial responsibility for the following:
1. The Village Hall: The Village Hall is entrusted to the Parish Council and is administered by the Village Hall Committee comprising the 6 Parish Councillors and a representative from each of the groups or clubs that regularly use the facilities.
- Bookings for the hire of the Hall are made through Mrs Judith Jessop (Tel: 370603) who is the volunteer administrator. Charges are kept as low as possible so as not to exclude smaller groups; heating and lighting are included in the charges but cleaning is not. There was an increase in the Booking Fees this year. Charges for village groups stayed the same £10 due to the fact that they provide cleaners for the cleaning rota. Funerals and Private Hire went up to £20 per session and Children’s parties were increased to £15. Users are required to leave the Hall in the condition that others would like to find it. We can only maintain low charges for Village Groups if there are enough volunteers to clean and maintain the Hall on an ongoing basis. The rates are looked at on an ongoing basis and where ever possible stay low for regular users who contribute to the cleaning of the Hall.
N.B. Thanks to Judith for continuing this vital role for our community
- Licensing: The Hall is licensed by DDDC for the activities that take place within certain hours. The License does not permit the sale of alcohol, and any hirer wishing to sell alcohol at an event has to make a separate application.
- Asbestos is known to exist within the fabric of the Hall and is safely contained just so long as the roof space isn’t breached. An audit report is available for inspection.
- Improvements: An ongoing maintenance programme is applied to the fabric of the Hall and over the last year we have replaced some roofing, had repair work to the gable end and chimney, had a new heating system, had new blinds fitted to provide better black out facilities, a new P.A. system and mountings for a new projector.. The interior is still in good order with some painting to two of the walls due to the new radiators. The blistering under the paint surface has settled down and general repainting will be tackled in the near future. The good condition of the Hall continues to attract high usage and the Parish Council sets aside £500 every year out of the precept to create a Fabric Fund.
N.B: With thanks to the Cynthia and Malcolm Pollard for their help in some of the external fabric repairs and to Lewis for his continued work on the internal fabric of the Hall.
- Safety and Inspections: Basic safety checks and monthly in the Village Hall: written records are retained. Annually, professional engineers are engaged to carry out formal inspections of parts of the Village Hall. Through the year tests have been carried out including: Environmental Health, Fire Extinguishers, Emergency Lighting, and PAT testing.
- Volunteers. A group of volunteers organised from the committee, clean the toilets and the hall weekly; and during the summer months open the toilets at the weekends for use by the public. Mrs Judith Jessop volunteers to act as Administrator and looks after the bookings, collecting the money and issuing receipts. The Hall continues to be well maintained and self sufficient financially which ensures it will continue to be well used within our community.
N.B. We would like to thank each and every one of the volunteers for their support and efforts in maintaining this important focal point within the village community and to the Village Hall Committee and Cllr Jan Hall and Cllr Lynn Goldsmith for their commitment over the past year.
2. Mowing: Glynn Griffiths is our mowing contractor and keeps the village greens, verges and field looking great. We are now in the position that the cost of keeping the Villages green spaces well tended is greater than the amount the DCC/DDDC is prepared to reimburse. The Parish Council have decided to meet the short fall in the interests of the Village continuing to be a well cared for environment.
N.B. We would like to thank Glynn Griffiths for his continued attention to the upkeep of the villages green spaces.
3.Kirk Ireton Village Car Park: Formerly known as Buxton Hall car park. This is under the ownership of the Parish Council and it will mean that any future problems that occur will have to be addressed by the Parish Council. We would like to note that the car park is for the use of villagers and visitors to the village.
4. The Open Space – Children’s Playground: The Council continue to pay Mr Glynn Griffiths to regularly mow and keep tidy this grassed area.. Basic safety checks are carried out weekly on the Children’s playground by a member of the Parish Council and professional engineers are engaged annually to carry out formal inspections and carry out any necessary maintenance work. We removed the Beech trees around the garage at the east end of the area this year and took branches off some trees that were overgrowing some of the neighbouring properties. We have also assigned a sum of money for any ongoing improvements to the play equipment.
5. The Village Field: The Village Field belongs not to the Parish Council, but to a Registered Charity (No 1050255) called Kirk Ireton Village Field Trust, which has its own Board of Trustees to maintain and control it.
The Parish Council was asked to be responsible for the long term management of the Village Field. In order to do this we have leased the field from the Field Trust at an annual fee that will be paid back to the Parish Council at the end of the lease term if all conditions of the lease have been met.
The Parish Council will continue to maintain the grounds and oversee the management team as part of their ongoing commitment to the village field and ensure that enough funds are available to pay for essential costs. This year essential branch removal work was undertaken on some of the trees on the east boundary.
N.B. Thanks to all the members of the Village Field Working Party for their continued efforts in overseeing the development and management of the area.
6. Telephone Box: The telephone box was repainted this year and after numerous discussions with interested individuals and considerable help from Dr. C. Holden, it was resolved to place a defibrillator in the phone box. Dr. Holden’s Dental practice is sponsoring the defibrillator and it’s housing unit and the Parish Council will install and maintain it. Safety checks will have to be undertaken every week the same as the Open Space to ensure the defibrillator is ready to be used at all times. The Parish Council will also organise training sessions for villagers so that everyone understands why its there and how to use it. Eon has finally recognised that it should have an existing electricity supply and should reinstate it within 28 days.
N.B. Many thanks to Chris Holden for his continued support for this important project.
7. Notice Board: A new notice board has been purchased and will be erected in front of the Village Car Park wall on Main Street. It was felt that the old notice board was too small and in poor condition and will be removed shortly.
This is my last Chairman’s Report. After 2 terms in office as a Parish Councillor (8 years!) and 2 years previous to that working on the improvements to the Village Hall, I’m hanging up my gloves! It’s been a privilege to work with my fellow councillors and to do something to help the community. I thank James, Paul and Linda for their time and commitment during the last Parish Council term. I equally thank Kath and Jan for their continued commitment to the Parish and wish them stress free and short meetings – which they’ll most probably get without me in the Chair! And last but not least, Janice for being a great Clerk, good fun and just a thoroughly nice person – least because she stuck with us when other Councils fell by the wayside!
However, it would be amiss of me to not mention a couple of characters that have always been part of my Parish Council life. Firstly, Marjorie Billings moved to Allestree this last year and put her Kirk Ireton Parish Council pen and pad away. Whilst not on the council she had been a regular to the public seats of the meetings, and the Village Hall committee, and had always had something to contribute to the proceedings. I wish Marjorie well in her new life out of the Derbyshire Dales!
On a much sadder note, my good friend Philip Making sadly passed away after a long fight with illness. It is fair to say that through all my time on the council I valued Philip as a concerned and interested member of the public and always enjoyed our conversations. I miss his kind and gentle character and his wit, observations and opinions.
And lastly, a big thank you to all the organisations and individuals who make village life more enjoyable and community orientated and ask everyone to remember that the people who make things happen are all volunteers and need your continued support!
Sheila Collington, Chairman Kirk Ireton Parish Council (2007 – 2011)